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New York sperm bank

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled in a novel case that a sperm bank may be sued under product liability laws for failing to detect that a sperm donor had a genetic defect.

The Legal Intelligencer, in an article posted today, reports that Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas N. O’Neill Jr. cleared the way for a 13-year-old mentally retarded girl from Pennsylvania to sue a New York sperm bank. Representatives of the girl claim the sperm used for her conception had a defect known as “Fragile X, ” a mutation known to cause mental retardation and behavioral disorders, the paper reports.

“Under New York law, the sale of sperm is considered a product and is subject to strict liability, ” O’Neill wrote.

The paper notes that, in the suit, the girl’s mother claims the sperm bank, Idant Laboratories, promised that its donors go through a rigorous screening process that should have detected the genetic defect.

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